Something unprecedented occurred twenty years ago. But despite all the challenges that awaited them, one couple considered themselves very blessed. Despite the potential bumps ahead, they looked forward to all the days that followed. Two decades later, their family became the subject of admiration across the entire country. But despite the fact that they overcame several ups and downs over the years, many can’t help but wonder, did they do the right thing?
Bobby and Kenny McCaughey were eager to have children. So, after getting hitched, they tried to make a baby, but nothing worked. After experiencing one disappointment after another, they decided to go see a doctor. Unfortunately, that’s when they got some bad news. It turns out that Bobbi was born with a medical condition that made it difficult to conceive a child. But the couple continued to think positive, and eventually, Bobbi got pregnant.
Bobbi had a daughter named Mikayla Marie in 1996, and the couple was very happy with their little girl. But Bobbi and Kenny wanted to expand their family, so they decided to keep on trying. But instead of leaving it in the hands of destiny, they consulted with a fertility doctor, so they wouldn’t have to wait as long as they did with Mikayla. But they didn’t know that this process would end up changing their entire lives forever.
Bobbi took a hormonal medication called Metrodin to stimulate her ovaries into producing a bunch of egg cells. And it worked! By the time Mikayla celebrated her first birthday, Bobbi was pregnant again. The couple was excited when they went in to get their first ultrasound. But they certainly weren’t ready for the news they were about to get. After studying the ultrasound, their doctor told them that they would be having seven babies, which immediately overwhelmed the couple.
The McCaugheys learned that this pregnancy was just as risky for the fetuses as it was for Bobbi. The doctors suggested they consider terminating some of the embryos through a process known as selective reduction. This would give the other embryos a better chance at surviving and developing. But the couple refused to do this. Instead, they kept all seven embryos and left it up to God to decide. But they knew they’d have to face lots of obstacles.
Bobbi and Kenny weren’t sure how they were going to raise eight kids. Fortunately, people and organizations offered to help once the media heard of Bobbi’s rare pregnancy and talked about it. The couple got plenty of donations, like a van so they could fit the whole family in it. They even got a year’s supply of food. Better yet, their babies weren’t even born yet and were already famous. Then, they decided to make an early appearance.
The babies were born on November 19, 1997, which was nine weeks before their expected due date. Since the pregnancy was so risky, doctors performed a c-section on Bobbi. Fortunately, each baby was born six minutes apart. And since they were all alive and well, the septuplets made history. But they had to remain in the neonatal unit for three months because they were born premature. And Bobbi and Kenny had more surprises in store for them after the babies were discharged.
Reporters throughout Iowa had camped outside the hospital to get a scoop on the first successful septuplets to be born. The media frenzy was so intense that they couple needed the cops to escort them home. An officer stood guard outside to make sure everyone respected their privacy too. Meanwhile, the donations continued. Kraft gave them a year’s supply of Mac n’ Cheese. Another company gave them diapers. But one donation really blew them away.
The McCaugheys received a 5,000-square-foot house complete with seven bedrooms and five bathrooms courtesy of the Iowa Chamber of Commerce. Besides a new house, the family had rocketed to stardom. They were featured on ABC Primetime News and TIME magazine put them on one of their covers. And as the septuplets got older, everyone put a spotlight on them every time they had a birthday, until they were old enough to leave home. But did they regret anything?
The septuplets turned 18 in 2016, and they were now ready to move out and start college. But some of the kids didn’t have an easy life. Alexis and Nathan had cerebral palsy, which made it difficult to walk, and it also affected their coordination, and how they moved. In 2005, Nathan underwent spinal surgery so he could walk without any help. But Alexis still needed a walker because her condition was far more severe than Nathan’s. This brought up a difficult question.
Bobbi was criticized for keeping all seven babies while she was pregnant, because the risk of developmental problems was high. Alexis and Nathan proved this, but to this day, the couple wouldn’t change a thing. Bobbi responded to critics by saying, “Come to our house, and tell me which four I shouldn’t have had!” And besides, their condition hasn’t exactly slowed them down.
Nathan is totally independent and has chosen to go to Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri in the hopes of becoming a scientist. Meanwhile, Alexis graduated with perfect grades and registered in Des Moines Community College to pursue a career in early childhood education. But the other siblings have also strived to become successful too.
Nathan, Natalie, Kelsey, and Joel all went to Hannibal-LaGrange University, even though the school offered all the septuplets a scholarship to go there. Kelsey studied music, while Joel majored in computer science, and Natalie became an elementary school teacher. But Kenny stayed at Des Moines Community College and found work as a carpenter. Meanwhile, Brandon went on to become an expert pistol and carbine shooter in the US Army. Clearly, they all took different paths, but they all look back at their lives together with a whole lot of fondness.
Camera crews stopped by to document their lives on every birthday, but despite this, the septuplets led normal lives like any other kids. But they did get to meet some important people along the way like Ann Curry and former President George W. Bush. However, the septuplets were always taught to work for whatever goals they wanted to achieve in life. 18 years later, Bobbi and Kenny Sr., were living in an empty nest, and this proved to be a difficult transition for the couple.
Bobbi and Kenny had to get used to living in a house that was huge, but empty after living with eight kids for the past 18 years. This proved difficult, so they decided to sell the house. In February 2018, they found the right buyer in Ruth Harbor, which is an organization that offers assistance to young women dealing with pregnancies that are unplanned. Bobbi said, “Nothing would please us more than the idea of our home being used as a place of refuge to others in need.”